A motor vehicle accident is an example of a traumatic event that can often lead to the death of the decedent, especially if it involves heavy machinery or high speeds. In such cases, mechanical asphyxia and positional asphyxia may come into play, depending on how the victim’s body is positioned in relation to heavy objects or their own vehicle. It is important to note that these asphyxiation mechanisms can also occur in other types of traumatic events, including falls or other physical traumas, as well as in situations where a person may be restrained or held down during an attack or sexual assault. As such, it is vital for medical examiners and forensic pathologists to be aware of the potential for asphyxial injuries in such situations, so that they can properly evaluate and document them during a post-mortem examination.
Injury Prevention and Control
Motor vehicle collisions are a major cause of injury and death in the United States, particularly among children over the age of 24 months. Understanding your risk factors for MVCs is an important part of preventive care, and there are several behaviors that are known to increase your likelihood of being involved in an accident, including speeding, failing to use a seatbelt, and driving under the influence of alcohol. By being aware of your risks and taking steps to avoid these behaviors, you can help reduce your chances of being involved in an MVC.
Despite significant progress in reducing motor vehicle crash fatalities over the last few decades, there is still a need for increased seat belt use. According to recent estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt compliance has increased significantly since 2000. In 2016, 90% of all occupants ages 5 and older reported using seat belts while riding in vehicles. This significant increase is due to many factors, with the most notable being education efforts and stronger enforcement by state authorities. Experts believe that there are still areas where more effort is needed.
For example, 50% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities were not restrained at the time of impact in 2012. The NHTSA has created guidelines for state and local officials to help them educate drivers about the safety benefits of seat belts, as well as appropriate enforcement strategies. By educating the public on the importance of using seat belts, states can help prevent crashes that cause serious injuries and fatalities. By following the NHTSA’s guidelines for education efforts, state authorities will be able to reach more drivers and encourage seat belt use, ultimately saving lives on the road.
Since the turn of the century, driver distraction has been recognized as a significant hazard on our roads. According to the NHTSA, in 2011 alone, 10% of fatal collisions and 17% of injury collisions were associated with distractions. In recent years, several national efforts have been launched to address this growing problem: for example, texting while driving is banned for commercial truck and bus drivers in the United States, as well as hand-held cell phone use while driving. However, 44 states currently ban text messaging while driving and 14 states have banned hand-held cell phone usage by noncommercial drivers.
The safe transport of children is an extremely important issue that needs to be addressed by parents, healthcare providers, and policymakers alike. Studies have shown that child restraints can significantly reduce the risk of pediatric death in a motor vehicle accident (MVC), with age-appropriate restraints reducing risk by up to 50%. Therefore, it is essential for everyone to be educated about the proper use of car seats for children. In March 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revised its recommendations regarding child restraints in vehicles, stating that anyone under the age of 13 should ride only in the rear seat of a vehicle. Infant seats should never be placed in the front seat within reach of an air bag, and federal rules allow for the disabling of air bags if necessary in order to safely transport small children. Of course, vehicle safety features like rear seat belts and sensor-activated airbags are crucial when it comes to reducing pediatric injuries in a MVC. However, both parents and healthcare providers need to be aware of the importance of the proper use and installation of age-appropriate restraints for their children, as well as the risks associated with placing them in inappropriate areas. Only by working together can we hope to reduce the number of child fatalities in MVCs.